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California Estate Planning Services

If you're looking for support in using the law to protect you and your loved ones, and to stay out of court and out of conflict, then you've come to the right place. I'm Debra Garcia, California Estate Planning attorney and counselor-at-law based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I serve individuals, couples and families across California.

Schedule a complimentary phone consultation or call me directly at (510) 495-0445. I look forward to connecting with you.

Debra Garcia California Estate Planning Attorney

California Estate Planning

Creating an estate plan

California Estate Planning is a process to help you ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death, and also during your life in the event you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. The right planning can also minimize taxes, legal fees, court costs, and lengthy and complicated court procedures that can keep your loved ones (and your assets) tied up in probate court for a very long time.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, and to ensure that your wishes are carried out, is to create a plan while you are able. A well-designed and well-thought-out plan will keep you and your loved ones out of court and out of conflict.

If you don’t have a plan in place, the State of California will impose its plan on you, and it's most likely not what you would choose for yourself.

Parts of a basic California Estate Plan can include: 

  • a Will (aka Last Will and Testament), 
  • a Trust (often called a Living Trust or a Revocable Living Trust (RLT)), 
  • a Durable Power of Attorney (for your finances),
  • an Advance Health Care Directive (this is the California legal document that combines a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care),
  • Guardianships and conservatorships can also be addressed in your plan.

But, a well-thought-out and prepared plan is more than just a set of documents. You want a plan that will work when you need it to and takes into consideration the inevitable changes in your life and changes in the law.

Visit my California Estate Planning page to learn more.

Life and Legacy Planning

The term “Estate Planning” can be misleading. Some people don’t think they have an "estate" that's worth the trouble of planning for. Or they think it’s only for "old" people, or "rich" people, or dying people, or just for someone else. I prefer to think of this area or the law as “Life and Legacy Planning.” 

Life and Legacy Planning is the way to ensure that your wishes are carried out for yourself and your family and loved ones. If you’re a parent of minor children, you absolutely need to have a legal plan in place so that your wishes are carried out for your children and they don't end up in the hands of strangers in the short term or the long term.

(BTW Every person has an "estate," some are just larger than or different than others. And everyone 18 years of age and older needs to have a plan in place.)

If you choose to work with me to develop your estate plan, we will meet for an in-depth Life and Legacy Planning Session; this will enable me to know what you want to achieve and also to educate and empower you to make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

Learn more about the Life and Legacy Planning Session here or schedule a phone consultation to discuss California Estate Planning.

Book Your Appointment Today

To better serve you, all consultations are by appointment only. Book a complimentary consultation call or call me directly at (510) 495-0445 to schedule an appointment.


After years of putting it off, I finally hired Debra to help me get my financial and medical affairs in order including establishing a living trust. Debra stayed on top of it from start to finish. She offers a unique combination of ease of communication, sensitivity to personal situations, attention to detail and exceptional legal competence in the field of estate planning. Debra provided invaluable information to help me make smart decisions and persevered to keep me on track. I highly recommend hiring Debra for any and all of your estate planning needs. – Julie T.

My husband and I, both in our 60s, were encouraged by a friend to get our estate plan written. She also referred us to Debra Garcia. It's not easy to hire a stranger to deal with such an important, delicate and personal matter as one's future wishes, but Debra exceeded our expectations. From the start, she was responsive, respectful, knowledgeable, extremely thorough and approachable. She took the time we needed to understand all of our questions and concerns. We met both in person and virtually. Debra was clear about what could be set in stone and where the "gray" areas existed so we could have a full understanding of what we needed to consider and decide for ourselves. She did an amazing job putting together the plan as well as the schedule of assets. We love that the deliverable came in both hard copy and digital formats. 

The result was a great sense of accomplishment, peace of mind and the knowledge that our future wishes would be clear to our executors. A gift that cannot be overestimated. We could never have done this without Debra's help, guidance and expertise. – Lis and Mason M.

We were overwhelmed w/ the thought of the process. Debra was/is reassuring, provided gentle reminders and explanations. The family mtg was super helpful (others that I spoke to about our experience were shocked and envious that Debra offered a family review/meeting). – The Geiken Family

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